These paintings are concerned with the transformative nature of certain landscapes, places of wilderness and the reciprocity of a certain ‘connection’ to country. More than a spiritual restorative, it is a type of nourishment, a symbiotic, complex and interrelated relationship which enables a sense of identity, meaning and understanding.
Wildness is more a quality than a place, and though humans can’t manufacture it, they can nourish it. Certain people cultivate wildness, carefully and respectfully, in full recognition of its mystery. Wildness, these individuals have found, reside not only out there, but right here: in themselves.
Certain people are ‘equable in the face of nature’s uncertainties; they move among her mysteries without feeling the need for control or explanations or once-and-for-all solutions. To (travel) well is to be happy amid the babble of the objective world, untroubled by its refusal to be reduced by our ideas of it, its indomitable rankness.’ (-Michael Pollan, Second Nature)
For many years my interest has been in remote desert places, places that go beyond our boundaries of understanding of landscape, beyond ideas of margins and imperfections and also the people that inhabit those places, both literally and metaphorically.
It may be only in these places, areas of land or country that people are deeply connected to, both geographically and spiritually that fresh ways to bring aesthetics and ethics about the land into some meaningful alignment can be discovered.
It is a landscape without ownership. A place where the horizon, and the sum of all it’s parts is seen and integrated by the poets eye.
Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. … I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature. (-Ralph Waldo Emerson)
– Jo Bertini 2015
Jo Bertini is currently undertaking a ten year project as Expedition Artist with ‘Australian Desert Expeditions’. Travelling with string of pack camels and group of esteemed experts from a range of national institutions and across various academic and scientific disciplines, on ecological, archeological and indigenous research into the most remote and inaccessible regions of Australian deserts.